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DOLE PHILIPPINES VS PAWISANG MAKABAYANG OBRERO

G.R. No. 146650. January 13, 2003
Ponente: Corona, J.
Book Five, Rule I, Sec. 1(jj): Collective bargaining agreement refers to the negotiated
contract between a legitimate labor organization and the employer concerning wages,
hours of work, and all other terms and conditions of employment in a bargaining unit,
including mandatory provisions for grievances and arbitration machineries.
FACTS:
On February 22, 1996, a new five-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was
executed by petitioner Dole Philippines and Pawis ng Makabayang Obrero (PAMAO),
coveringFebruary 1996 to February 2001. One of the provisions in the new CBA reads:
(Section 3 of Art.XVIII)
Dole agrees to grant a meal allowance of Php 10.00 to all employees who render
atleast 2 hours or more of actual overtime work on a workday, and free meals, as
presentlypractice, not exceeding Php 25.00 after 3 hours of actual overtime work.
Pursuant to the provisions of the CBA, some departments reverted to the previous
practice of granting free meals after exactly 3 hours OT but other departments granted
free meals only after more than 3 hours OT. PAMAO then filed a complaint alleging
Dole’s non-compliance tothe CBA.
On September 22, 2000, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision upholding the
assailed order directing Dole to extend the free meal benefit to those employees who
actually did overtime work even for exactly three hours only.
Petitioner Dole asserts that the phrase after three hours of actual overtime work should
be interpreted to mean after more than three hours of actual overtime work and this has
been the interpretation and practice of Dole for the past thirteen years.
On the other hand, private respondent union and the voluntary arbitrator see it as
meaning after exactly three hours or no less than, three hours of actual overtime work.
To arrive at a correct interpretation of the disputed provision of the CBA, a review of the
pertinent section of past CBAs is in order.
The CBA covering the period 21 September 1985 to 20 September 1988 provided:
Section 3. MEAL ALLOWANCE. The COMPANY agrees to grant a MEAL
ALLOWANCE of FOUR (P4.00) PESOS to all employees who render at least TWO

and FREE MEALS. SC noted that the phrase more than was neither in the 19851988 CBA nor in the original 1990 1995 CBA. ISSUE: How many hours of overtime work must a dole employee render to be entitled to the free meal under sec. not exceeding SIXTEEN PESOS (P16. which reverted to the phrase after three (3) hours. MEAL ALLOWANCE. The terms are explicit and the language of the CBA is not susceptible to any other interpretation. as presently practiced. not exceeding TWENTY ONE PESOS (P21. The CBA for 14 January 1990 to 13 January 1995 likewise provided: Section 3.00) after THREE (3) hours of actual overtime work. . It was inserted only in the 19931995 CBA Supplement. after THREE (3) hours of actual overtime work. But said phrase is again absent in Section 3 of Article XVIII of the 19962001 CBA.00) to all employees who render at least TWO (2) hours or more of actual overtime work on a workday. The disputed provision of the CBA is clear and unambiguous. the literal meaning of free meals after three (3) hours of overtime work shall prevail.00) after more than THREE (3) hours of actual overtime work (Section 3. as amended). Hence. as presently practiced. based on the fact that the same provision appeared in earlier CBAs that a Dole employee is entitled to a free meal after rendering exactly or no less than. MEAL ALLOWANCE. The COMPANY agrees to grant a MEAL ALLOWANCE of EIGHT PESOS (P8. and FREE MEALS. The provision above was later amended pursuant to Article 253A of the Labor Code. Xviii of the 1996-2001 CBA? HELD: It is clear from the intent of the provision. Thus.(2) hours or more of actual overtime work on a workday. The COMPANY agrees to grant a MEAL SUBSIDY of NINE PESOS (P9. as presently practiced. and FREE MEALS. 3 of art. 3 hours of OT and not more than 3 hours of OT. CBA of the 14 January 1993 to 13 January 1995: Section 3.00) to all employees who render at least TWO (2) hours or more of actual overtime work on a workday.

The exercise of this principle is not unlimited. It is subject to the limitations found in law. .The petitioner also cannot invoke the principle of management prerogative which means that the employer has the power to grant benefits over and beyond the minimum standards of law or the Labor Code. and to see it otherwise would amount to an impairment of its rights as an employer. THE CBA IS THE NORM OF CONDUCT BETWEEN THE PETITIONER AND PRIVATE RESPONDENT AND COMPLIANCE THEREWITH IS MANDATED BY EXPRESS POLICY OF THE LAW. a collective bargaining agreement or the general principles of fair play and justice. PETITION DENIED.